“O Lord, how canst Thou say Thou lovest me?
Me whom thou settest in a barren land,
Hungry and thirsty on the burning sand,
Hungry and thirsty where no waters be
Nor shadows of date-bearing tree:—
O Lord, how canst Thou say Thou lovest me?”
“I came from Edom by as parched a track,
As rough a track beneath My bleeding feet.
I came from Edom seeking thee, and sweet
I counted bitterness; I turned not back
But counted life as death, and trod
The winepress all alone: and I am God.”
“Yet, Lord, how canst Thou say Thou lovest me?
For Thou art strong to comfort: and could I
But comfort one I love, who, like to die,
Lifts feeble hands and eyes that fail to see
In one last prayer for comfort—nay,
I could not stand aside or turn away.”
“Alas! thou knowest that for thee I died
For thee I thirsted with the dying thirst;
I, Blessed, for thy sake was counted cursed,
In sight of men and angels crucified:
All this and more I bore to prove
My love, and wilt thou yet mistrust My love?”
“Lord, I am fain to think Thou lovest me,
For Thou art all in all and I am Thine;
And lo! Thy love is better than new wine,
And I am sick of love in loving Thee.
But dost Thou love me? speak and save,
For jealousy is cruel as the grave.”
“Nay, if thy love is not an empty breath
My love is as thine own—deep answers deep.
Peace, peace: I give to my beloved sleep,
Not death but sleep, for love is strong as death:
Take patience; sweet thy sleep shall be,
Yea, thou shalt wake in Paradise with Me.”